I’ve missed a couple weeks now, but it has been a busy couple for me. The following is a reflection on the Great Commission as recorded in Matthew 28:16-20
When it comes to evangelism Christians at least in my limited observation, seem to go to one of two extremes. We either want to beat people over the head, or we don’t want to say anything about it at all. Both in my opinion are the wrong thing.
For two summers when I was in college I went out to Ottawa to work with my sister who lived there at the time. We would sometimes go to the shopping center that was “downtown” (at least I think it was). On one particular day we got off the bus and there was a man there shouting out to the city. REPENT, REPENT Ottawa. I don’t know exactly what the guy was calling people to repent of, and I am not sure he knew either. What I am sure of though was rather than drawing me closer to the faith this guy was pushing me away. It wasn’t an effective method of evangelism. That’s the first thing I think that we’re doing wrong, shouting at people without knowing anything about them and expecting them to be scared into our faith.
The second thing is when we don’t say anything. Faith is not a personal issue. It may be personal in the way that we know and understand Jesus, but it is not something that is supposed to be kept as our “personal relationship”. Faith can and should affect the very people that we are, and it shapes how we interact with the world around us. In other words we talk about the things that are important to us.
Maybe we are overbearing, or too timid because we’re afraid each for different reasons. The overbearing are often afraid of being challenged, because if they are challenged then the potential is there for aspects of their faith to unravel, so they feel the need to ward off doubt by aggressiveness. The timid are sometimes afraid because they already recognize that they don’t have all the answers.
I take heart in the text today then because it tells us flat out that some of the very people who were there to SEE Jesus risen from the dead doubted. Yet they were all, the faithful and the doubters, called to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you”. (Matthew 28:19-20)
In New Testament class in college I learned that this command of Jesus to GO, can be better translated as you go. So as you go throughout life let the light of Jesus shine forth from you, as you go share your experience and even your doubts. We need not be too pushy or too timid, but recognize that Holy Spirit guides and directs and gives power to be a people of the kingdom of God who are able to welcome others to it.